Late Bears’ rally dooms Ephrata in LNP Tourney

By on August 3, 2016
Ephrata catcher Ricki Bromirski (left) lays down the tag to get the Bears Blue runner at the plate during Friday’s LNP quarterfinal game at Clipper Magazine Stadium. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Ephrata catcher Ricki Bromirski (left) lays down the tag to get the Bears Blue runner at the plate during Friday’s LNP quarterfinal game at Clipper Magazine Stadium. Photo by Preston Whitcraft

Ephrata was two innings away from pulling off the upset in Friday night’s quarterfinal round of the 71st LNP (formerly New Era) Tournament for 16-and-under players at Lancaster Clipper Magazine Stadium.

The seventh-seeded Lions (7-7 regular season) led the two seed Bears Blue (Elizabethtown 13-1) by a 1-0 score going into the bottom of the sixth inning, in large part due to left-handed starting pitcher Hunter Johns.

Unfortunately for the Lions, they couldn’t hold on.

Back to back singles chased Johns in favor of right hander Zach McGillan. A sacrifice fly by Bears’ shortstop Kevin Gamber tied the score at one. A double, a fielder’s choice out at the plate and a walk loaded the bases with two outs and the score still knotted at one. Pinch hitter Hunter Murry then slapped a bases clearing double into the right field corner, taking the advantage by a 4-1 score.

Despite singles by first baseman Nate Young and designated hitter Timmy Beever, Ephrata failed to score in the top of the seventh, ending the Lions tournament run.

“I thought even though that happened (the tying run) we were still OK,” said Ephrata coach Matt Herbener. “After that run, we couldn’t get the last out to get back in the dugout.”

Johns struck out two and walked two in shutting out the Bears for the first five innings.

“All year, it’s been throw strikes and shoot the knees with his pitches,” added Herbener. “Tonight, that’s what he did, and that’s why he pitched really well.”

Beever drove in Young for the Lions’ only run in the top of the fifth inning after McGillan’s double reached the right field fence.

“That’s a great job for a team that’s not been here before,” noted Herbener. “I thought the team handled themselves really well.”

Two stellar defensive plays by Blue limited any additional Ephrata scoring in the fifth. A line drive destined for center field struck by Ephrata shortstop Ashton Sensenig was knocked down by Bears starter Ryan Rupp for out number two. And a bad-hop ground ball hit by left fielder Justin Brubaker was corralled by E-town first baseman Chad Caley to end the threat.

“Hitting to add those insurance runs has been our flaw all year,” described Herbener. “That ball hit hard up the middle was a bad break, but I’d say we missed some opportunities.”

Despite the loss, the Lions logged one of arguably the greatest turnarounds in league history, starting the season at 0-6, then winning seven of their last eight games, going into the LNP.

“All the credit goes to the team,” said Herbener. “A lot of teams that start 0-6 end up only winning one or two games for the season. I think the biggest thing was just gaining confidence in ourselves. Tonight, we just came up a little short.”

About

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *